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Darwin Correspondence Project

To J. S. Henslow   2 September [1854]1

Down. Farnborough | Kent.

Sept. 2d

My dear Henslow.

I have nothing to correct except that Bal. tintinnabulum cannot strictly be considered British, (being only an imported shell) except as a Crag Fossil.— I hardly know what to add as strictly British & living & breeding, perhaps Bal. porcatus would do as well as possible.— I may just mention, that in selecting these types I took the Pollicipes as giving all the characters of the whole order as well balanced as possible; but in the smaller groups I have picked out one eminently well characterized, or with every character by which the group is different from the other groups, most strongly pronounced.— I had thought the paper was only for the Ipswich Museum2 (though I cannot improve on it as it stands) & therefore I did not notice the two other Orders represented only by a single species each.3 I have inserted these in pencil, & you can determine whether to insert them in print; undoubtedly they ought to be, in order to give a full illustration of the Sub-class.—

Of the sub-class, including the three orders, it is impossible to give a type. I am sorry to have caused so much trouble, but I thought the paper was solely to guide you in your classification of the Ipswich Museum, & as you had not the two last orders, I purposely omitted all notice of them

Yours most truly | C. Darwin


Dated on the basis that this letter precedes a circular issued by Henslow in June 1855 (see n. 2, below).
Henslow was preparing for the Liverpool meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, at which a committee was appointed to draft a report ‘on the best manner of selecting and arranging a series of Typical Objects illustrative of the three kingdoms of Nature, for provincial Museums’ (Report of the 24th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at Liverpool in 1854, p. xlvi). The object of the committee, whose first report was published in the following year, was to provide guidelines for curators of provincial museums on how, by exhibiting a small number of well-chosen specimens, they could ‘bring the entire range of natural history in a forcible manner before the attention of the public.’ (Report of the 25th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science held at Glasgow in 1855, p. 110). Henslow used CD’s list of typical cirripede species as an examplar in the circular, dated June 1855, which he distributed to members of the committee soliciting similar lists for other ‘groups in either the animal, vegetable, or mineral kingdoms.’ CD’s list is reprinted in ibid., p. 121.
Abdominalia, containing Cryptophialus minutus, and Apoda, containing Proteolepas bivincta. Both are described in Living Cirripedia (1854). Henslow included them in his example.


Sends his comments on JSH’s MS on cirripedes ["On typical objects in natural history", Rep. BAAS (1855): 108–26].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Stevens Henslow
Sent from
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 1586,” accessed on 30 April 2017,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 5